So, faced with the decision to trek to the store or not, I found myself standing in front of the open refrigerator door, in a position that reminded me of the teen years and the glassy-eyed stance my sons would assume when grazing for snacks. As the cold air wafted out into the kitchen, I unearthed a surplus of carrots (from the dish I thought I’d have time to make for a New Year’s Eve dinner), a bag of parsnips (from the yummy-sounding pear soup I also didn’t have time to make for New Year’s), a wobbly head of celery, a lonely turnip, and a half-finished box of baby arugula that was still – but just barely – fresh.
Random Vegetable Soup
In my kitchen, the solution almost always ends up being soup of some sort. I chopped the top off the celery and submerged the rest in cold water, which freshened it up in no time at all. I cut up an onion, sauteed it for 5 minutes in a tablespoon each of butter and olive oil, then added a minced clove of garlic (without which I would have had to go to the store, as who can make broth soup without garlic?) to cook for another 30 seconds, then poured in 6 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of Knorr Chicken Flavored Bouillon powder.
Kitchen Goddess note: Knorr Chicken Flavored Bouillon powder is, by the way, the best-tasting chicken broth I’ve ever found – so much better than the tasteless stuff that comes in cans, and a whole lot easier than making your own which, though delightful, takes a day, and who has a day when you’re just trying to make lunch out of whatever’s in the fridge? Also, you can buy a gi-normous jar of it at Costco, which means you’re hardly ever without the basis for soup of some sort.
I started chopping veggies, and kept adding them until the soup looked full enough. The carrots and celery take the longest to cook, so I start with them, and the arugula – which ends up tasting a lot like spinach – only needs a couple of minutes, so it's last.
Somewhere in the middle of the veggies, I tossed in my standard veggie or chicken soup flavoring: a bay leaf, a teaspoon of dried dill, and a teaspoon of dried thyme. Garlic salt to taste. And at the very end, fresh parsley if I have it. Then I had a lightbulb moment, remembering a very tasty tortilla soup recipe I tried recently, and I chopped up an avocado(!!), and added it to the still simmering soup. So Texas has taught me something new. It was enough to make the Soup Nazi weep. And voilà – lunch.